Monday, October 31, 2011

Hard, hard lesson

Grandpa Wiebenga and  my sister Doris on our front step.  
My grandpa was a big, beer drinkin’, grumpy Dutchman who always said what he thought.  He was the very special man in my life that made me feel special.  He was my step grandfather, but I never thought of him that way in that he never made me feel like we were not of the same blood.  He spoiled us and made me laugh.   He was not afraid of show us open affection.   Others may have seen him very differently and I now look back and think that many adults may not have liked him because of his curtness, but children see very differently especially when they are spoiled and sugared up.  He traveled from Illinois to see us almost every week end and he would take as many of us kids that wanted to go to Martha’s in Hurstville.  We would sit up to the bar and drink all the pop we wanted and eat candy and chips.  He bought me my first bike and first party dress.  These were luxuries that my parents could not afford.  I still have the beautiful yellow party dress packed away as a memory of him.  He died when I was a teen ager.  His death was the first real death I remember dealing with.  It was very hard on me and I grieved his death for many years.

The great lesson he taught me was a hard lesson, but he taught it well and I’ll never forget it.  It was my birthday and I was sitting on his lap.  He asked me what I wanted for my birthday and being a polite child, I said “nothing”.  He pulled out a beautiful birthstone ring and said “Oh, I got this for you, but since you don’t want it, I will take it back.”  And he did.  It hurt, but I learned if you want something then ask for it.  I did later in life go out and buy myself a birthstone ring because I really wanted it and as a reminder of the lesson.  The lesson is how are people to know what you want if you don’t ask for it?  I love and miss you grandpa even after 50 years.

Another lesson is that sometimes the harder the lesson the quicker you learn from it.  In this case, I sure did.

Be happy and God bless you.

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